Iconic 7.8-ton oak tree removed

BARBARELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The long-standing 15,000-pound oak tree was removed from Mattituck Presbyterian Church Thursday.

Thursday marked the end of an era at Mattituck Presbyterian Church. An iconic oak tree, which is believed to have stood for more than 350 years, was removed from its roots.

The rotting tree had taking quite a hit over the years. Nearly two years ago to the day, a large section of the tree fell following a severe windstorm. At the time, the church removed the canopy, but a 30-foot trunk that was unharmed by the gusts remained.

Since, portions of the tree slowly began to decay, threatening its overall health and the safety of people and places around it, including the nearly 300-year-old church building, said Mattituck Presbyterian Church trustee Sal Messina.

“It’s really a shame about the tree,” he said as he watched the long-standing oak be removed Thursday morning. “I’m glad it didn’t do any damage.”

Anne Tuthill, a long-time worshiper at Mattituck Presbyterian Church, also looked on.

“I’m torn about [removing the tree],” she said. “It was a beautiful tree when it was healthy, but they said it is on its way out and while I’m sorry, I guess trees get like that after a while.”

While the iconic oak is gone from its roots, it will continue to remain a part of the community.

Promptly after being removed, the 15,700-pound tree was moved to Will Paulson Woodworks in Mattituck where it will be crafted to served another purpose.

“There are a lot of different options for what to do with the wood,” Mr. Messina said.

Some ideas include using the material to make tables, commemorative plaques and even a historical reference guide, he said.

“We have one member that is interested in doing an historical timeline about Mattituck based on the rings of the trunk,” Mr. Messina said. “You know, maybe put brass tacks in marking historical things that happened; this way [the tree] will live forever in a way.”

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